From the rolling hills of the northeast to the flat farmland of the southwest, spring signifies the beginning of marathon season in the great state of Minnesota. Beginning to run outside instead of at the gym for the first time in months, newly-interested joggers and experienced sprinting veterans alike are in their early preparation stages, eagerly awaiting their chance to cross the finish line.
With all sorts of marathons to run in, including those funding cancer research, those that blast participants with powdered paint, or those strictly for competitive purposes, it’s sometimes hard to know what exactly you’re getting yourself into. What do you wear? When should you train? What should you eat?
Don’t worry! In celebration of the return of marathon season, we’ve compiled a list of hints, tricks, and tips to assist you in the challenges running against hundreds (or thousands) of other people might bring. Whether you’re training to become the fastest person to hit the asphalt or just want to figure out how to make it through while still maintaining a bit of dignity, we’ve got you covered.
Tip #1: Select the proper running attire.
Though clothes don’t seem all that important to your exercise routine, they really are! The shoes you wear on the big day should be lightweight, breathable, and supportive for your feet. If your shoes are new or you are a running newbie, it is also important to wear them on a long run at marathon pace to determine if they will blister your feet or cause soreness. As for other clothes, breathable, made-for-running shirts and jackets will prevent you from overheating or collecting sweat while you run.
Tip #2: Mimic the course.
Emulating the day of the marathon is key for successful training, especially if you’re a first time runner. After beginning your training regimen, try to run in a place that has a similar topographic layout as where your marathon will be held. Whether you are running on flat prairie land or tall hills, working your muscles into familiar habits will help your body lessen the shock it feels during the day of your marathon. It also helps to develop a mental strategy about how to complete the course you will be running, according to trainer and running coach Jenny Hadfield.
Tip #3: Train adequately.
Training is just as important for first-time marathoners as it is for seasoned vets. According to Runner’s World, running a smaller marathon-like mileage is extremely helpful in terms of getting your body to recover faster when it gets tired. Doing these marathon-like runs about a month out is ideal, if you feel up to the task.
Tip #4: Don’t push too hard.
It’s also important to limit your mileage in the final weeks before the big race. “Even if you’re feeling great, don’t up the ante and increase your training,” says Bill Rodgers, four-time Boston and New York City Marathon champion. Your body is used to a specific level of training – don’t overwork it.
Tip #5: Eat the right way.
Leading up to the race, eat healthy foods that replenish your body. But the last three days before you get to the starting line, concentrate on eating foods rich in carbohydrates, like pasta, potatoes, bread, and other low-fat treats. Carbs are what will fuel you on race day – not fat or protein. According to Suzanne Girard Eberle, it’s important to increase the percentage of your calories that come from carbs. This, however, does not mean to simply eat more of everything. It just means to make smarter decisions when choosing foods.
Tip #6: Relax.
Many first time runners spend more time nervously contemplating the race than actually training for it. Coach Hadfield recommends making a go-to list around 2 or 3 weeks before the race, packed with the essentials of what you’ll need to do and remember on race day. It’s also key to arrive at the race early and acquaint yourself with the surroundings, as well as give yourself enough time to properly amp up and focus on the task at hand.
So there you have it: 6 tips and tricks to help make running a marathon one of the easiest but most fulfilling things you do this running season. If you’re struggling to train, let us know. We can help you find the best regimen for your needs and wants.
When it comes to running marathons, don’t sweat it. The most important thing to remember is that you’ve got this! Good luck from your friends at St. Cloud Orthopedics!